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Tasman collaboration sets innovators up for success

5 September 2019

Christchurch’s Ministry of Awesome has signed up to an exchange partnership that will offer NZ startups a New South Wales beachhead and introductions to established networks to help them crack the Australian market.

The startup exchange programme is part of a collaboration between the Ministry of Awesome and The Business Centre, Australia, which aims to expand opportunities and support high growth startups in Canterbury and entrepreneurial innovators in the Hunter region, New South Wales.

The Hunter startups are being offered one month at Te Ōhaka – Centre for Growth & Innovation at Ara Institute of Canterbury. The NZ startups are being offered the same but at The Business Centre in Newcastle, which has become an innovation hub for tech startups and developers in Australia.

In both locations, entrepreneurs will receive access to mentoring, networks, peer-to-peer training and opportunities to build partnerships for their startup or scaleup. They will also be part of an exclusive EY Sydney hosted pitch night to conclude their exchange programme.

Ministry of Awesome is the starting point for entrepreneurs, startups, and innovators in Christchurch. Along with Ara Institute of Canterbury, it is a founding partner of Te Ōhaka - Centre for Growth & Innovation, which is Canterbury’s high-growth startup incubation hub. Currently, it is home to a very special first cohort of 20 early stage startups.

“Christchurch and Newcastle (where the Business Centre is based) have a lot in common, including experience of renewal following adversity,” Business Centre CEO Steve Wait says. “Newcastle’s regrowth, following its 1989 earthquake and the closure of its steelworks, demonstrates our two resilient communities have a shared experience of regrowth, renewal and self-reliance. Both cities have chosen a path of innovation and exploration to develop new ideas and ventures. It’s a logical progression that we work together,” he says. “In the spirit of collaboration we hope to not only exchange ideas, methodologies, networks and entrepreneurial processes but more importantly partnerships.”

Ministry of Awesome CEO Marian Johnson says, “Christchurch is New Zealand’s newest city and our startup and innovation ecosystem is rolling out the red carpet to support entrepreneurs with bold ambition, deep capability, and extraordinary ideas. We offer local connectivity to all our high growth startups and we are over the moon to now be able to offer global connectivity with our like-minded colleagues across the Tasman at The Business Centre.”

Startups or scaleups, who are interested in participating in a one month exchange to Australia, should contact Ministry of Awesome at Te Ōhaka Centre for Growth & Innovation at

For more information on services offered to high growth startups at Te Ōhaka - Centre for Growth & Innovation, please email


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